Major step forward for Loke Marine MineralsTechnipFMC will now use their expertise and technology for the purpose of deep-sea mining. Photo: TechnipFMC

Major step forward for Loke Marine Minerals

With three industrial investors, the young company has come a lot closer to meet their ambition of becoming an international leading deep-sea marine minerals company.

Following the completion of NOK 115 million private placement of equity in Loke Marine Minerals, three industrial investors – TechnipFMC, Wilh. Wilhelmsen, NorSea Group (with an aggregate of NOK 85 million) – will contribute their technology, competence and networks in subsea, maritime operations and logistics to further Loke’s ambition to become the leading provider of seabed minerals for the green energy transition.

“I call this “smart money. In addition to the necessary capital, we get both knowledge and expertise that is extremely important when we now embark on mapping resources, develop new technology for exploration and production and – not least – meet the environmental challenges posed by the extraction of deep-sea minerals,” says CEO Walter Sognnes of Loke Marine Minerals.

Loke Marine Minerals AS was established in 2019 by experienced offshore energy leaders and entrepreneurs.

According to TechnipFMC, marine minerals have been identified by the World Bank, World Economic Forum, and International Energy Agency as one of the potential solutions to meet the increasing demand for metals used in electric vehicle batteries, clean energy technologies, and consumer electronics.

The overall ambition for Loke is to secure top acreage licenses on the basis of extracting seabed minerals with the lowest possible environmental impact.

As clearly pointed out by IEA in the May 2021 report (“The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transition”), solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, wind farms and electric vehicles (EVs) generally require more minerals to build than their fossil fuel-based counterparts: a typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired plant. The deep sea: A potential copper mine.

To this date, the company has leveraged its E&P and subsea technology experience to develop what they call “breakthrough proprietary designs of production equipment” and performed studies relating to exploration, production, environmental and economic aspects of the industry.

Tore Halvorsen (left), Hans Olav Hide and Walter Sognnes are the three entrepreneurs who founded Loke Marine Minerals two years ago. Photo: Loke Marine Minerals

Expanding the team

The private placement equity of NOK 115 will enable Loke to fund further development of enabling technologies, participation in studies and expansion of the Loke team, fully financing and preparing the company to be awarded licences internationally and on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

“We see great benefits for the exciting phase the company now is entering from what they [the investors] are bringing to the table, with regards to knowledge, experience, and culture. Their complementary business areas are an ideal match with our ambition of becoming an international leading marine minerals company,” says Sognnes.

Walter Sognnes will present his company at the forthcoming conference NCS Exploration – Deep Sea Minerals (Bergen, October 20-21). The two Norwegian companies Adepth Minerals and Green Minerals will also present their activities and ambitions for exploring the potential riches of the deep sea offshore Norway and elsewhere.

Fully aware of environmental concerns regarding deep-sea mining, Sognnes emphasizes that “Loke is implementing the most ambitious environmental plan in the mining industry, building on the framework and track-record of the oil and gas industry in Norway over the past decades”, for which he gets strong support from the new owners.

NCS Exploration – Deep Sea Minerals (Bergen, October 20-21): Programme

Company motivation

Jonathan Landes, President, Subsea at TechnipFMC, believes their expertise in subsea robotics and extensive history on the NCS can help meet the rising demand for new technologies and resources that are driving the energy transition.

Likewise, Jan Eyvin Wang, Executive Vice President of Wilhelmsen’s New Energy segment, says that Loke Marine Minerals will now be able to benefit from their core maritime competencies, digital capabilities, and experience developing offshore wind and hydrogen services and decarbonized solutions.

Moreover, John Stangeland, CEO NorSea Group, is of the opinion that their proven service and supply know-how and one-of-kind assets can continue to be a key driver of success.

“The development of the seabed mineral industry in Norway is far from certain, but partnering with a frontrunner like Loke, which has such focus on developing new technologies and systems to safely and sustainably extract minerals from Norwegian waters puts us in an interesting position,” John Stangeland says.